Learn about nature-based climate change solutions at June 24 panel discussion

West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) and the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club are hosting the next in a regular series of virtual discussions on climate change, “Community Conversations on Climate Change,” with a focus on how climate change is affecting Muskegon County, and what can be done at the local level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for future impacts.

The topic is “Nature-Based Solutions, “scheduled for Thursday, June 24, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The virtual discussion will be moderated by Elaine Sterrett Isely, director of water programs for WMEAC. Panelists include Debi Hillebrand, mayor of the city of Whitehall;

GVSU Environmental & Sustainability Studies students Katie Brown and Anna Watson ; Claire Schlaff, volunteer native landscape coordinator for White Lake United Methodist Church; Carlos Calderon, coordinator of water programs for WMEAC, and Michelle Selzer, of the Water Resources Division, Great Lakes Management Unit of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, & Energy.

The focus of the panel will cover the benefits of using native plants and trees to manage stormwater, erosion, and flooding associated with climate change, and will include short presentations on the city of Whitehall’s green street, a GVSU project on sustainability and stormwater management initiatives for the city of Montague, the White Lake United Methodist native landscape project, rain barrels, and information, resources, and state and federal funding opportunities for local projects.

According to one of the panel organizers, Renae Hesselink, vice president of sustainability for Nichols Paper, “There are already many good examples in the Muskegon area of vegetative buffers and landscapes installed by businesses and local government to improve the environment, but still room for many more!”

Tanya Cabala, lakeshore outreach organizer for the WMEAC, says “Climate change is definitely showing up in the Muskegon area, especially with the high water levels, lakeshore erosion, and flooding of the past two years. Now is the time to get out in front and take action to adapt to this new normal in our area. Fortunately, there are many good practices we can adopt to help, helpful information and resources, and grant opportunities!”

“Muskegon County has led the way in environmental protection in many ways,” according to Sarah Tressedor of the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club. “It will be exciting to see the community’s leadership on climate change.”

To learn more and register for the panel discussion, go tto: CommunityConversationsJune2021.eventbrite.com